Founder’s Story with Jaci Volles
Founder’s story is all about inspiring others through the
story of an amazing entrepreneur. We highlight their
history, lessons learned, and what advice they would give
others. This week we have Jaci Volles
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
My childhood began in Mexico, Maine…a small town of 3500 people. My parents and sisters moved to the United States from Canada before I was born, making me the only American in the family. We were a French-speaking home until I started school and learned English in school. Small-town life has its good moments because everyone knows everyone and there’s a strong sense of community. At the same time, you can see where this is going…everyone knows everything. I left Maine one week after I graduated from high school and moved to Connecticut to live with my oldest sister who was married with children. Met my husband that fall. Married at 20 and still married to the same man 38 years later. Three young adult children in college. And now in the phase of my life that is transitioning to entrepreneurialism.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
Actually started a venture just over 20 years ago when I was pregnant for my second son. Wasn’t sure that I wanted corporate and launched a side hustle. I worked full-time days, when to school at night, and then went to my side-hustle office until midnight. I was successful in creating a custom manufacturing business in China, developing a process with the factory that allowed for custom quilts, designed one at a time in the US, and then handcrafted in China. The revenue model was network marketing. Kept it for a couple of years but was promoted at corporate and couldn’t keep everything going. Not to mention that I had two young boys and then pregnant with a third child. This third child, much to my surprise, was a girl. Then round two of entrepreneurialism was roughly 10 years ago. Trademarked and launched a patent-pending platform but ran out of time to dedicate to making it a full-time gig. Again…the kids were just at the wrong age. And corporate was paying incredibly well.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Focus on the sale — not the product. As product creators and marketers, we often find ourselves so focused on the brand and product perfection that we forget it can evolve and no one will know the difference. The most important thing is to focus on the selling network.